It takes a lot of “stuff” to run a successful business. Daily operations require on-hand materials to organize tasks, serve clients, manage facilities care, support employees, and promote the business for growth. Keeping the office stocked and ready is a task unto itself. 

Organizing the procurement function for your office supplies list can be complex, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Yet over 80 percent of leaders admit their indirect spend is not well-managed

A methodical approach to sourcing indirect procurement categories can help you meet daily needs and manage inventory. Stepping up to procurement software can make things even easier, saving your company a lot of time and money. 

This article delivers everything you need to know about managing office supplies categories for the office, including:

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Essential office supplies categories

Category management isn’t just for enterprise companies. Creating a well-organized procurement process with benchmarking for major purchase items and categories makes it easier to buy at competitive rates. 

Check out this office supply checklist for the most common procurement items businesses need by category, including sections for specialized verticals such as service businesses and cannabis dispensaries and cultivators. 

General office supplies

Technology

Furniture

Storage

Packaging and shipping

5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)
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5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)

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Service-based business consumables

Service businesses often have different needs than the standard office. Many of these products are consumables, so purchasing in bulk rates for better discounts makes the most sense. Check out the items service-based businesses need most. 

Hair salons and spas

Gyms and fitness centers

Cannabis businesses

Finding the best office supplies for every category

Adopting better procurement processes can help preserve capital and reduce waste as businesses grow. Strategic sourcing ensures companies purchase the right quality and quantity of supplies from reliable vendors at competitive prices. 

Strategic procurement management looks at consumption patterns to forecast future needs and negotiate contracts with flexibility and scalability. These practices also build stronger supplier relationships to unlock additional savings through discounts and value-added services. 

Use the following strategies to find the best deal on all top office supplies list items:

Conduct a spend analysis: Regularly review and categorize the expenses associated with each office supplies category to identify spending patterns and opportunities for cost reduction.

Consolidate suppliers: Reduce the number of suppliers for similar categories to leverage bulk purchasing, improve negotiation power, and simplify supply chain management.

Develop supplier relationships: Foster long-term partnerships with key suppliers rather than treating each purchase separately (transactional vendor relationships). This leads to better terms, discounts, and access to special promotions.

Implement procurement solutions: Use electronic procurement systems to streamline the purchasing process, enforce policy compliance, and achieve better transparency in spending.

Adopt sustainable practices: Select supplies and suppliers to reduce environmental impact and lower costs in the long term through sustainability practices.

Regularly review contracts: Continuously assess contracts with suppliers to ensure they remain competitive and meet the organization's changing needs.

Utilize demand planning tools: Forecast future needs based on historical consumption data. This reduces the risk of overstocking or stock shortfalls.

5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)
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5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash, (and How to Fix It)

Identify top areas where your current purchasing process might be falling short—and costing you BIG.

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Top pitfalls in procurement for top office supplies categories

Strong procurement starts with a strong process. When evaluating and refining the purchasing process in an organization, be sure to look at common areas where many companies stumble on procurement optimization.

Lack of documented process: Without uniform standards and a sound procurement process for office supplies, organizations purchase redundant, out-of-policy, or unnecessary items. This leads to a wasted procurement budget and increased costs.

Overreliance on single suppliers: Dependence on a single supply source or transactional supplier relationships can lead to supply chain vulnerabilities, including supplier issues or market changes. Diversifying the supplier base can mitigate these risks and ensure continuity of supply. Look for ways to ensure the business has a fallback for critical items, either through supplier contract redundancy or with a platform to find alternative suppliers in cases of out-of-stock goods.

Spotty visibility: Without a clear view of spending across departments or business units, it becomes difficult to identify areas for cost savings or negotiate bulk discounts. A centralized procurement system provides visibility into all purchasing activities and enables strategic decision-making based on comprehensive data.

Light contract management: Mismanaged contracts result in missed opportunities for cost savings. They also open the door to non-compliance with terms and conditions. Build a contract management policy and system that makes compliance review and approval part of the standard procurement workflow to avoid contract issues.

Skipping sustainability: Ignoring the environmental impact of office supplies can result in missed opportunities for sustainability practices that could save money and reduce the organization’s carbon footprint over time. Sustainability-minded procurement is also valuable for younger companies hoping to attract funding from angel investors and venture capitalists. 

Lack of vendor performance evaluation: Failing to review contracts by using vendor scorecards with suppliers regularly may cause organizations to miss out on better terms or fail to adjust to changing needs and market conditions. Conducting routine lifecycle management for all active supplies ensures they continue to meet compliance and pricing benchmarks and acceptable thresholds of purchase price variance for competitive results.

Maintaining manual processes: Failing to utilize available technology for procurement processes can result in inefficiencies, lack of transparency, and missed opportunities for cost savings through electronic systems.

5 Cost-efficient procurement strategies for all office supplies categories

There are a few pitfalls to procurement, but just as many ways to optimize the purchasing process to make it faster, easier, and more cost-effective. Consider the following five strategies for preserving cash and improving the bottom line: 

  1. Leverage bulk buying: Consolidate orders for office supplies to take advantage of bulk purchase discounts. Larger orders often secure better pricing, reducing the cost per unit significantly. Some companies achieve this strategy through a group purchasing organization. A platform like Order.co enhances the benefits of traditional group purchasing in many ways. 
  1. Strengthen supplier negotiation: In a landscape where nearly 90 percent of stakeholders feel that contract negotiation isn’t very effective, it’s important to find ways to partner with suppliers to secure more favorable terms or discounts. Long-term relationships can also open up opportunities for exclusive deals or savings. These partnerships are great for both sides: Buyers get strong pricing and service, while suppliers can count on a steady recurring revenue stream with a streamlined transaction process. 
  1. Explore local vendors: Sometimes, local suppliers offer competitive prices and faster delivery times, reducing overall costs associated with shipping and handling. Buying locally also fosters better environmental procurement outcomes since supplies travel shorter distances and produce fewer overhead costs. 
  1. Consider multi-year contracts: Locking in prices with multi-year contracts can protect against price increases and provide cost certainty over time. However, ensure there's flexibility to adjust as needs change.
  1. Get procurement technology: Implement eprocurement systems that streamline the purchasing process, allowing for better tracking, comparison shopping, and access to online discounts unavailable through traditional channels.

Bring all your office supplies category purchases together with Order.co

No matter what your business needs to run, implementing procurement software simplifies managing all the top procurement categories. With Order.co, companies streamline procurement from request to settlement. The platform empowers buyers with access to curated catalogs for easy purchasing from every vendor and creates more time for accounting through automated approval and reconciliation. It gives finance teams visibility and budgetary control through a well-designed process and reporting suite. 

If you’re ready to harness the power of technology to build more efficiency and cost-savings into every office supplies category, get a demo of Order.co today

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There are many ways to manage spend and streamline procurement and expensing. The right expense management software tool can greatly improve the efficiency of your internal process while helping the organization save money and reduce waste. 

Ramp is one such tool for managing spend of all kinds. It has a solid reputation amongst small and medium businesses looking to create more efficient purchasing and expensing. But is it the best option for your business? Only research can answer that question.

To help users confidently decide on a solution, we’ve compiled helpful information about Ramp and some of its closest competitors. Read on to learn what Ramp is and its main features, strengths, and challenges. We’ve also compiled the pros and cons of other top tools. 

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What does Ramp do?

Ramp is a SaaS accounting and expense management tool. It offers a suite of finance and AP automation features that help small and mid-sized businesses streamline and digitize their accounting and expense management. The cloud-based management platform is designed to provide all-in-one solutions for finance teams wanting to digitize and automate their operations.

Ramp offers features for end-to-end spend management strategy, including: 

Ramp pros & cons

Ramp offers a strong mix of features for small to medium-sized companies, earning it high ratings on sites like Capterra and G2. However, buyers should be aware of some drawbacks to the platform when evaluating their options.

Pros

Cons

10 Features to look for in spend management software

Spend management is a fast-growing segment of the SaaS business, with over 10 percent growth projected from 2022 to 2030. That means a lot more options and data to sift through. Finding a spend under management solution with the right blend of features and capabilities is essential to meet your company’s current and future needs. 

When researching options, look for tools that have each of the following 10 key features:  

  1. Centralized spend controls: Accurate expense control relies on teams being able to order, track, reconcile, and analyze spend from wherever they are. Look for a solution that brings data on providers and transactions. This allows for real-time visibility into spending and the ability to set limits and controls.
  1. User-friendly interface: Many stakeholders interact with spend management software, so an appropriate solution must be easy to learn. Look for spend management and accounting software with an intuitive interface for fast adoption with minimal training. A strong, well-organized, customizable platform makes onboarding easier for employees. 
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  1. Integrations: AP management doesn’t happen in isolation. Look for a system that integrates seamlessly with existing accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This creates data consistency and workflow efficiency for finance and other teams.
  1. Spend guidance: Spend management tools help leaders maintain budgetary control while enabling self-service purchasing. Look for a platform that automatically enables spending guidance and limits, reducing manual management and preventing out-of-policy spending.
  1. Reporting tools: Real-time reports are essential for managing spend. The right tool allows companies to make informed decisions based on up-to-date data. Real-time reports keep budgets on track, enable proper resource allocation, empower better negotiations, and provide insights for improved decisions.
  1. Mobile access: Given the increasing trend of remote work, mobile access to spend management has become more important than ever. This feature allows employees to conduct procurement activities, track expenses, or approve purchasing requests from anywhere.
  1. Customizable workflows: Every business has unique needs and processes. Spend management software should offer customizable approval workflows to fit the company's unique processes and hierarchy. Customizable features also allow the platform to evolve with the company as it grows and changes. 
  1. Security: Given the sensitive nature of financial data, robust security measures are table stakes in choosing spend management software. Encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular audits are some features to look for.
  1. Vendor management: Managing vendor information within a central platform simplifies processes and improves relationships. Look for a tool that lets users easily review supplier information and conduct vendor-specific analysis.
  1. Scalability: As a business grows, so should its spend management solution. Look for a software option that scales with company needs without compromising performance or functionality. 

5 best Ramp alternatives of 2024

We’ve reviewed some of the most advanced and user-friendly alternatives to Ramp to consider when selecting a spend management solution. Read on to learn more about each. 

1. Order.co

Order.co offers companies of every size access to tools to track spending, improve budgetary control, and optimize procurement and spend management processes. The platform enables every buyer in the organization to initiate purchases with preferred vendors through a curated catalog. 

Pros

Cons

2. Bill Spend & Expense (Formerly Divvy)

This spend management tool creates easy expense reporting, management, budgeting, and reimbursements. The platform features a free tier and virtual card options to help buyers complete purchases and track expenditures.

Pros

Cons

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3. Brex

Brex offers web-based and mobile-ready billing, expense, procurement, and payment management. It caters to small and medium businesses and enterprises seeking streamlined processes for managing spend and controlling expenses. 

Pros

Cons

4. Airbase

Airbase spend management and accounts payable automation offers mid-market companies centralized tools for budgeting, expense tracking, and spend optimization. It makes spend visibility easier through real-time insights into financial data. 

Pros

Cons

For a more in-depth look at Airbase, check out our full comparison.

5. Xero

This business accounting tool is built for the needs of small businesses as an alternative to other options like Quickbooks. It offers quick, secure access from any device and enables common processes like cash flow management, payments, expense tracking, and inventory management,  

Pros

Cons

Streamline procure-to-pay with Order.co

Order.co offers the strongest, all-in-one procurement and accounting automation solution available. It gives users of all stages and company sizes access to AP process automation, AI enhancements, spend management, invoice reconciliation, approval automation, and innovative financing options. Order.co enables compliant purchasing for every employee, helps companies save money, streamlines procurement processes, and enhances spend analyses.

To learn more about sealing up the gaps in your spend management process, check out our free ebook 5 Ways Your Purchasing Process Is Leaking Cash (and How to Fix It)

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A spend management solution helps businesses track and manage spending, budgeting, and procurement activities. It enables organizations to monitor and control spending, identify potential savings, and improve cost efficiency. It can also help businesses keep tabs on spending transactions, detect and prevent fraud, and comply with regulatory requirements.

Choosing the right spend management platform greatly improves the outcomes of your accounting and finance functions, and many options are available. Airbase is one such tool for the mid-market. It offers many advanced features, but how does it stack up in an apples-to-apples comparison against Order.co? 

This article provides a balanced overview of the similarities and differences between Airbase and Order.co. Read on to learn more about these spend management tools.

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An Overview of Airbase

Airbase is a spend management and accounts payable automation platform that creates centralized tools for budgeting, tracking expenses, optimizing spend, and improving financial visibility. It provides real-time insights into financial data and enables users to make more informed spending decisions. Airbase includes automated workflows to streamline processes and increase efficiency.

Who is Airbase for?

Like Order.co, Airbase was designed for the mid-market, with scalable features tailored to companies of 200 to 5000 employees. For small businesses with under 200 team members that are just getting into accounts payable process automation, it may offer too many advanced features. Airbase was built to provide a comprehensive view of all spending across organizations. It allows companies to take control of their costs and identify new opportunities for savings. 

Order.co: The top Airbase alternative as rated by Capterra

Airbase and Order.co offer a valuable range of features for mid-market companies, with room to scale as companies grow and evolve. To answer some of the most important questions buyers face when evaluating these two spend management options, we’ve compared their respective features and functionality across several key categories.

Onboarding and implementation

Airbase implementation and onboarding times depend on the complexity of business needs and integrations. Airbase reports that implementation takes about 1 to 2 months for most mid-market customers. This process can take 2 to 3 months for enterprise customers, depending on the internal resources available for implementation. 

Information from Airbase’s blog breaks down their implementation process into five steps: 

  1. Outline goals: Based on business goals (for instance, bill pay, guided procurement, etc.), the Airbase team creates a custom onboarding plan that integrates relevant teams. 
  2. Identify controls: If the business doesn’t already have a spend approval plan, the implementation team will have it draft a plan for custom workflows. 
  3. Onboard vendors: New customers must collate data from all current corporate credit cards and other vendor payment forms. This work must be done in advance of implementation. The company also recommends making a list of vendors that accept card payments.
  4. Set up Airbase: The company calls this a “KYC” or “Know Your Customer” process. It identifies the client’s identity when opening accounts. During this process, the Airbase team also sets up banking connections for money funded through Airbase and performs general ledger (GL) integration. For QuickBooks accounting software customers, Airbase offers direct integration to fetch charts of accounts. Airbase provides detailed instructions to sync GL data if the business isn’t on QB. On-call guidance is available, but the customer drives the GL sync process.
  5. Customize: With data in place and GL migration completed, users can customize and configure their Airbase and begin to learn the system. More information on Airbase’s training materials is available below.

Order.co offers a significantly more streamlined and intuitive setup process courtesy of the implementation team. 

In general, onboarding and implementation take approximately 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on the number of vendors in the organization’s catalog, fulfillment preferences for those vendors, payment processing needs, and integrations. The fastest implementation projects enable customers to begin placing orders in as little as 10 days.

Every Order.co customer has access to a dedicated implementation consultant, account manager, and catalog specialist who guides new clients through onboarding and implements catalog curation. Order.co uses a project management system and weekly check-ins to maintain momentum through the onboarding process. Implementation consultants are available whenever needed. To learn about Order.co implementation with a real-world example, check out this case study on Lucy Therapeutics.

Training

Once the system is up and running, users must learn the ropes to use the platform. The right training materials make this process much easier for everyone. 

Airbase offers users a help center for self-serve training on various platform facets. Users can find “Get Started Guides” in the website's resources section for admin functions, team managers, billing and business owners, etc. Users can also access a prerecorded webinar that instructs on Airbase's major functions and features. The company offers customer service and support through email and chat.

Order.co offers many training resources through its implementation consultant team. Order.co also features monthly product trainings, offers clients an in-depth help center, and provides a dedicated product training manager. Order.co’s help center contains broad and deep informational resources that guide users through procurement and payment workflows. For customers with large user bases, Order.co also offers personalized group training. 

Procurement

Both Airbase and Order.co offer guided procurement features to help stakeholders request and purchase goods. 

Airbase allows users to create a guided procurement experience with compliance enforcement and vendor management workflows. It accomplishes this through a vendor questionnaire that gives relevant approvers the information needed to greenlight the purchase request for approval. This functionality is available through the desktop and mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.

Order.co also creates guided procurement with dynamic spend controls, approval workflows, and more. The platform offers customers one of the only vendor-agnostic procurement solutions on the market. With Order.co, buyers make self-service purchases through a curated catalog of products from vendors they already know and love. Order.co connects to all current vendors to scrap purchasing data of up to 6 months of spending history. This data assists the team in creating a streamlined buying experience with full budgetary controls. 

One of the defining features of Order.co and the vendor-agnostic approach is that the platform can capture spend data from any vendor, even those with manual order processing methods. To accomplish this, Order.co connects to your online ordering systems through direct integrations, APIs, or online order platforms. The platform can also generate and transmit the PO to the vendor if needed. Order.co can automate PO transmission and capture spend regardless of how that vendor receives purchase orders (online, on the phone, or by email). Order.co facilitates order placement rather than merely capturing spend data.

Tracking orders across many vendors is easy with Order.co. The platform centralizes every purchase, allowing managers to view real-time tracking information from one screen. Order.co also facilitates procurement activities post-sale. The team handles returns, secures credit for missing items, initiates exchanges, and more. Order.co manages these tasks so internal stakeholders are free from making time-consuming calls or working on issue resolution. Order.co’s manual order fulfillment and financial management process is unique in the industry. 

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AI enhancements

Most top-tier finance and cloud-based software solutions are integrating artificial intelligence (AI) features into their platforms and services. These enhancements make the accounts payable process easier. Airbase and Order.co are no exception. 

Airbase uses AI technology in its optical character recognition (OCR) data transformation and error checking. The AI features of Airbase create “touchless” expense reporting with sophisticated document scanning, reconciliation, and audit trail checking. Accuracy in these functions improves month-end close activities and reporting. It’s worth noting that Order.co eliminates the need for OCR because PO, invoice, and receipt data are automatically stored in the platform throughout the P2P process.

Order.co’s AI algorithm performs many of the same error reduction checks while improving on these services by helping companies spot savings opportunities. To fortify the supply chain against disruptions and out-of-stock items, Order.co’s AI-enabled procurement functions automatically locate either the exact SKU from another vendor or a similar product from a high-quality vendor and give the user the option to order from these sources automatically. This automated approach to strategic spend ensures competitive pricing and eliminates the cash leaks that sap companies of their growth potential. 

Financing and payment

Order.co and Airbase each offer ways to directly integrate payment sources into their platforms for AP automation and automate invoice processing within the accounting system. Only Order.co goes beyond facilitating settlement to providing financing solutions. 

Order.co provides clients with innovative funding options that increase flexibility and maximize optionality for managing cash flow. Order.co’s Financial Offerings preferred advance offers buyers up to $500,000 in direct buying power for organizations — without expensive fees, interest payments, or delayed credit approval processes. With this unique financing feature, growing businesses access the capital they need to thrive without sacrificing equity or incurring excess expenses. 

Procurement cards

Procurement cards (P-cards) are virtual or physical corporate cards assigned to individual users for making company purchases. They streamline the procurement process by letting users self-serve their purchases without sacrificing data capture, budget compliance, or approval processes. 

Airbase offers physical and virtual purchasing cards as part of its platform services. The company also supports American Express and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) corporate card integration for transaction capture. Both options make it easier for finance to capture spend data and track category and departmental spending against budgets. Traditional procurement cards work similarly to corporate credit cards, with the company paying for transactions at the end of the current billing cycle. 

Order.co improves upon procurement card functionality with universal net terms and consolidation through its virtual card program. Using a virtual card, buyers purchase the items and services they need. Corresponding transaction and spend data get captured like any transaction, and these purchases are eligible for extended net terms like all purchases on the Order.co platform. These purchases can also be processed through consolidated billing, so managing payment is fast and easy no matter the source of spend. Purchases are coded at the time of the transaction, minimizing the lift for AP and bookkeeping teams. 

Virtual card purchasing is a great way to maintain vendor relationships without sacrificing terms or spend visibility. It allows the buyer to handle the transaction in the way that works best, especially for vendors that choose to work through purchase orders or phone-based ordering. 

Pricing

Airbase does not publish its pricing for any of its platform offerings. The company offers three tiers of service structured around headcount.

Order.co structures its platform and services with a flat monthly fee regardless of seats, business locations, integrations, or order volumes. The only additional costs are fees paid on financial products like extended net terms and capital advances.

Order.co offers a comprehensive platform with advanced sourcing, fulfillment, tracking, support, and manual order handling with competitive, fair pricing for businesses of all sizes.

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Integrations

Airbase is designed to operate well within mid-market and enterprise clients' existing tech stacks. The platform integrates with Sage Intacct, Quickbooks online, Xero, Netsuite, and others. Its card integrations with American Express and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) allow administrators to set non-payroll card spend and approvals through these two banks. In addition to its finance-specific integrations, the platform also integrates with other systems such as most Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) systems, ERP systems, bill payment and processing tools, Slack, Okta, Google, Microsoft, and onelogin. 

Order.co offers native integration with Workday Procurement for customizable procurement spend management and workflows, automating common tasks such as:

The integration capabilities of Order.co allow every department within an organization to share and verify data without manual work, duplication, errors, or frustration. These integrations also enable them to enhance the user experience of self-serve procurement while creating line-level visibility and automated general ledger (GL) coding for every transaction.

Order.co: Everything you need in spend management software

Order.co is the best all-in-one automation solution, offering AP process automation, AI insights, cash flow management, invoice approval, and innovative financing vehicles to create a spend management system surpassing simple transaction recording and spend reporting. Using the platform, clients empower compliant procurement, save money, streamline processes, fund growth, and capture every transaction for full visibility and better spend decisions.

If you’re ready to see the best spend management and AP automation software in action, schedule a demo of Order.co.

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Scalable procurement is an important priority for small and mid-market businesses handling an increasing flow of purchases and vendor agreements. Software enables data centralization and automation that helps these businesses run smoothly, regardless of size. 

The market has more software options than ever for managing procurement, and Procurify is a prominent brand within the space. Procurify has many features that support procurement for its target market. Still, it’s worth close examination to determine if it’s the best option for your organization’s size, budget, procurement processes, and needs. 

For those looking for a different mix of features, including more ways to empower users to self-service their buying process, alternatives offer additional flexibility and tools that streamline the process.

This article compares Procurify to Order.co, rated the number one Procurify alternative by Capterra. Read on to learn the key differences between these two tools so you can make the best choice for your business. 

Download the free ebook: The Procurement Strategy Playbook

What is Procurify?

Procurify is a comprehensive spend management platform that provides real-time visibility into spending across an entire organization. It is designed to help businesses across multiple industries and market segments monitor spending and manage vendors.

The Procurify spend management system runs on a cloud-based platform with automated features that enable organizations to uncover cost savings opportunities while streamlining financial processes related to procurement, expenses, and reporting. 

Procurify's suite of products is ideally suited for mid-size companies looking to take charge of their finance and operations and make smarter spending decisions. From procurement and sourcing to supplier performance management, Procurify provides a fully featured solution that gives finance and accounting teams control of their process and data. 

Who is Procurify for?

Procurify is mainly for mid-market organizations aiming to organize and streamline the spend management process. Although the features in Procurify primarily benefit these smaller businesses, it does offer integrations that allow it to scale with growing companies. However, its flat-rate pricing may exceed budgets for smaller organizations. 

Order.co: The top Procurify alternative as rated by Capterra 

Order.co and Procurify are two top procurement and spend management systems for streamlining the purchasing process. Though the two solutions have many similarities, understanding their key differences can help determine the best option for your organization. 

Read on to learn the differences between these two procurement management systems.

Onboarding

A strong onboarding process lets teams efficiently migrate data to a new platform to ensure a smooth transition from old systems. 

Procurify reports onboarding times between 4 and 6 weeks depending on complexity and the number of existing integrations within the organization. NetSuite users are advised to set aside 8 to 12 weeks for onboarding. Procurify uses a professional services model for implementation, so expect to work closely with a consultant and implementation team to bring data and integrations into the platform. 

Order.co implementation takes 2 to 8 weeks, depending on the number of vendors included in the catalog, vendor fulfillment preferences, preferred payment method configuration, and integrations. However, some organizations have implemented Order.co even faster, starting to place orders in as little as 10 days. 

Every Order.co customer is assigned a dedicated implementation consultant, account manager, and catalog specialist to guide them through the process and curate their catalog. Order. co uses a project management system and weekly check-ins to keep onboarding on track, and implementation consultants can be available whenever they’re needed. Learn more about what an Order.co implementation looks like from Lucy Therapeutics.

Training

Successful implementation relies on managers and team members learning and using the platform. For this reason, most platforms offer training materials and resources to get everyone up to speed.

Procurify offers an in-depth training resource called Procurify Academy as part of its onboarding process. The training program gets admins and users familiar with their user levels and roles. It runs through all six stages of the implementation process and is strongly encouraged to ensure users can function within the system and learn its idiosyncrasies. 

Order.co users receive comprehensive training from their implementation consultant. Order.co also holds monthly product trainings, operates an in-depth help center, and has a dedicated product training manager. Order.co’s help center contains an extensive catalog of articles that guides users through purchasing and payment workflows. For customers with large user bases, Order.co also offers personalized group training.

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Purchasing

Spend management is only half the battle of overseeing procurement spend. Streamlining the purchase process for buyers makes it easier to control costs as they arise versus addressing over-budget spending and maverick spending retroactively. 

Order.co is one of the only vendor-agnostic procurement options on the market. The platform helps buyers self-service their supply needs through a curated catalog of items from the organization’s preferred vendors. As part of the implementation, Order.co uses purchasing data from every vendor and spend source, aggregating up to 6 months of spending history to create a streamlined buying experience with full budgetary controls. 

The system integrates with all of a company’s most important vendors — even those who work via phone calls or a paper PO — to take the manual work out of ordering and give teams and individuals time back in their day. Once an order moves through the internal approval process, Order.co generates and transmits the PO to the vendor, regardless of how that vendor receives purchase orders (online, on the phone, or by email). 

Order.co also makes it easier to track and manage orders across many vendors. Managers can view real-time tracking information for every purchase and vendor from within the platform. For issues after delivery, Order.co facilitates returns, credit for missing items, exchanges, and more. There’s no need for an internal stakeholder to make calls or resolve issues. Order.co’s process for manual order fulfillment and management is unique in the industry. 

While Procurify offers similar spend management and reporting functions to Order.co, it doesn’t directly facilitate procurement for organizations. First, organizations must have a dedicated individual in charge of placing orders through the system. To enable direct ordering capabilities for stakeholders, system integrations through Procurify PunchOuts are required. Not every vendor has PunchOut capabilities, so order options may be limited.

AI enhancements

Artificial intelligence and algorithmic process improvement is an exciting enhancement to the procurement process. AI is helpful for fast calculations beyond the capability of human actors, such as exploring trends and identifying patterns and outliers in large data sets.

Like many options on the market, Order.co and Procurify use AI enhancements to help procurement and finance teams work more efficiently. AI algorithms can spot inconsistencies in invoices and reporting to improve data accuracy. AI-enhanced matching and invoice error detection can automatically comb finance and procurement data like purchase orders, invoices, and fulfillment records. 

Order.co’s AI algorithm also helps users save money. To fortify the supply chain against disruptions, AI automatically helps locate either the exact SKU from another vendor or a similar product from a high-quality vendor. 

Financing and payment options

Payments processing and automation are integral to the procure-to-pay process. Procurify and Order.co offer features to automate payments, verify accuracy through invoice matching, and handle invoices of every format.

Order.co also enables organizations to grow their operations with innovative funding options that put flexibility and cash flow optimization within easy reach. Order.co’s Financial Offerings preferred advance creates up to $500,000 in direct buying power for organizations — without costly fees, interest, or belabored credit approval processes. Order.co partners with innovative companies and high-quality vendors to make procurement fast and efficient.

Procurement cards

Virtual procurement cards (virtual cards or virtual P-cards) are assigned virtual corporate spending cards that streamline the procurement process by allowing users to directly purchase supplies or services online. Virtual P-cards are convenient for buyers, allowing them to make payments quickly and easily, and they offer budgetary control for managers. Purchases made with a P-card follow the same approval workflow as other purchase requests.  

Procurify offers physical and virtual purchasing cards (P-cards) for buyers to use when ordering supplies. These virtual cards allow the finance team to capture spend data, track purchases against budgets, and ensure in-policy spend. Traditional procurement cards work in much the same way as corporate cards, with payment for services due at the end of the billing cycle.

Order.co improves upon procurement card functionality with universal net terms and consolidation through its off-catalog spend feature. Using a virtual card, buyers purchase the items and services they need. Corresponding transaction and spend data get captured like any transaction, and these purchases are eligible for extended net terms like all purchases on the Order.co platform. These purchases can also be processed through consolidated billing, so managing payment is fast and easy no matter the source of spend. Purchases are coded at the time of transaction, minimizing the lift for AP and bookkeeping teams. 

Off-catalog purchasing is a great way to maintain vendor relationships without sacrificing terms or spend visibility. It allows the buyer to handle the transaction in the way that works best, especially for vendors that choose to work through purchase orders or phone-based ordering. 

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Integrations

Both Order.co and Procurify offer a robust selection of integrations to unite data and processes across the organization, including SageIntacct, NetSuite, Quickbooks, and more. 

Order.co offers native integration with Workday Procurement to create a completely customizable procurement experience, with automation for every step of the process, including:

The integration capabilities of Order.co allow every department within an organization to share and verify data without manual entry, duplication, errors, or frustration. These integrations also allow them to enhance the user experience of self-serve procurement while creating line-level visibility and automated general ledger (GL) coding for every transaction.

Pricing

Procurify has a flat fee for its base level of service and licenses. Additional seats and integrations are available in a customized enterprise-level plan. It’s important to note that Procurify’s base pricing does not include NetSuite integration. That level of service requires custom pricing through the Procurify sales team. 

Order.co users pay a flat monthly fee regardless of seats, business locations, integrations, or order volumes. The only additional costs are fees paid on financial products like extended net terms and capital advances.

Order.co delivers more value and functionality for your investment. The platform brings together sourcing, order fulfillment, tracking, order support, and manual order handling, in addition to the benefits of other spend management solutions.  

Why businesses choose Order.co

Businesses looking for the features and flexibility of a spend management platform with direct ordering, fulfillment, and payment functionality choose Order.co. Its complete, native procure-to-pay functionality allows organizations to curate a supply catalog of preferred items, source alternatives for backstocks, speed up the approval and fulfillment process, and streamline the payment process. 

To see how Order.co can work within your organization, request a demo today.

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Indirect procurement spending has a sneaky way of sapping cash from even the most well-run businesses. That’s understandable since indirect spending isn’t tied to a specific client, product, or project, so it’s harder for procurement professionals to track. However, correctly managing indirect spend has significant benefits for all organizations — they just need the right tools. 

This guide shares information and tips for getting more indirect spend under management and answers questions about this impactful category, including:

Download the free ebook: The Procurement Strategy Playbook

What is indirect procurement?

Indirect procurement is the process of sourcing goods and services not directly related to the production of a product but still necessary for the functioning of the business. Where direct spend can be tied directly to activities like manufacturing, client services, and billable project expenses, indirect procurement serves day-to-day operations. It’s often the most significant expense in a business and, therefore, the hardest to control. 

The 5 most common indirect spend categories

Most businesses spend up to 15 to 30 percent of total expenses on common indirect procurement categories. In larger organizations, managers may administer spending on an individual category to ensure competitive pricing and strong contracts.

Travel and events

Employee travel and events are often a significant source of indirect spending for organizations as they are not often linked to a specific product or project. Companies incur a range of indirect travel and events costs, including: 

Managing travel expenses effectively is an essential component of overall spend management.

Overhead

Business overhead is the indirect costs of running a business, including items such as:

Overhead is typically accounted for in the company's financials as a separate category within operating expenses. Although it includes many fixed costs, they may be difficult to track and control without a procurement approval and management process.

Supplies

Supplies purchasing often includes everyday use items, such as:

Software and communications

Organizations spend considerable money on software licenses and communication tools, including subscription fees, licensing costs, equipment charges, and phone systems contracts. 
Software licenses on corporate cards often become a source of maverick or unmanaged spending, as credit cards and expense reports make it hard to track pricing and renewal information. This is especially true when the business owner associated with the original contract or purchase leaves an organization or changes roles, resulting in unused licenses or programs that quietly renew, leak cash, and reduce profitability.

Marketing and Advertising 

Promotional budgets for marketing and ad costs include creating brand and product awareness, developing customer loyalty, and providing promotional strategies. 

Examples of marketing procurement include various costs and fees include:

Advertising is usually more narrowly focused on specific activities like television commercials, online ads, and print advertising. Both marketing and advertising require an investment in services and materials to execute a successful campaign, and most of these expenses fall under indirect costs.

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Ebook

The Procurement Strategy Playbook for Modern Businesses

Download the ebook to learn how to modernize your procurement strategy and realize the benefits of tech-enabled procurement.

Download the free ebook

Challenges to managing indirect spend categories

The nature of indirect procurement presents challenges for managing it successfully. Fortunately, many of these factors are within the organization’s control. 

Here are some common challenges businesses must overcome to establish more cost-efficiency in their indirect procurement:

Lack of approval process: Working with a robust purchase approval process makes tracking spending on indirect expenses easier. It ensures every purchase falls within policy while helping identify spending trends, price discrepancies, and quality issues.

Over 50 percent of respondents to one survey reported they’d experienced platform fraud in the previous 2 years. Without formal approvals, it’s challenging to catch redundant purchases, out-of-contract spending, risky vendor agreements, and procurement fraud. An effective interdepartmental approval process helps finance and management reduce waste spending and maintain strong security and compliance. 

Undocumented policies: Without a documented, well-communicated purchasing policy, buyers have no reference for how to do things correctly. This makes buying decisions more challenging and robs the finance team of the tools needed to manage spending. Organizations can proactively avoid costly procurement issues when employees have the proper guidance and process to make purchases.

Maverick spend: Also called “rogue” or “shadow” spending, maverick spend is purchasing outside a company’s established policies or those made without approval. This type of spending often happens quickly and without visibility into the purchase, the vendor source, or the total procurement cost.

Maverick spend is challenging to manage, as the transactions happen on corporate cards, in expense reports, or as part of auto-renewing subscriptions. In some cases, employees may be unaware that their purchase is unauthorized. In others, they may attempt to improve the bottom line by circumventing the company’s approved suppliers. 

Out-of-policy spending leads to higher costs through loss of discounts, waste spending, and overspending on emergency purchases and shipping. These transactions are difficult to reconcile during the accounting process, leading to excess research time and loss of productivity.

Redundant vendor relationships: When multiple departments or locations use similar vendors to procure the same goods, it can result in a loss of leverage and product quality. Unifying purchasing to reduce product SKUs and limit the number of vendors used creates more savings opportunities and stronger negotiations, but it requires bringing together purchasing under one process. Streamlining indirect spending through a procurement management system is the most efficient way of managing the process across every department and location.

How to manage indirect spend categories

The best procurement process makes it easy for end users and buyers to initiate requests, quickly route them through a well-crafted approval process, and automatically pass the fulfillment and payment work to accounts payable (AP). 

1. Build and communicate the purchasing process

Well-managed procurement and strategic sourcing start with a formal process. Create a document outlining and formalizing the steps required for every purchase or contract. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but it should inform stakeholders on how to get their needs met, give them access to the tools and forms to make informed decisions, and provide progress information to ensure the smooth completion of a purchase.

The following steps help form a new purchasing process or refine a current one:

  1. Define the scope and purpose of the process to determine its goals, such as minimizing maverick spend and ensuring quality control. 
  2. Identify the stakeholders involved in the departmental approval process. This could include direct managers, legal, IT, security, finance, or executive stakeholders. In many cases, contract value determines the extent of approvals. For small contracts or petty cash purchases, direct manager approval may suffice. Additional approval and research may be required for larger contracts over a preset dollar threshold. 
  3. Set up procedures for creating purchase orders, such as a central intake form or purchase requisition. Establish a workflow for obtaining approval from stakeholders, selecting vendors (if applicable), and coordinating with accounting or finance for payment processing. 
  4. Review the purchasing process regularly to evaluate efficiency​​ and ensure it covers all aspects of procurement.

Why communication is essential to procurement policy success

Once established, communicate the new policy to the organization consistently and promptly to ensure all stakeholders know about the changes and how they affect purchasing. Highlight changes regarding creating purchase requests, obtaining approval from stakeholders, selecting vendors, and coordinating with accounting or finance for payment processing.

Give teams easy access to documentation with clear guidelines for every purchase. Documentation through a central database or wiki helps prevent mistakes and confusion around procedures.

2. Centralize spend data

Centralizing spend data makes it easier to track and understand the sources of spend. To achieve this, companies should consider collecting data from all applicable sources, such as:

Centralized data improves spend visibility, encourages efficient budgeting and forecasting, and reduces issues within the sourcing and payment processes. It improves the chances of detecting suspicious activity or outliers in purchasing processes.

3. Conduct spend analysis

With data successfully centralized, organizations can conduct spend analyses to gain insight into spending habits and patterns. The goal is to look for opportuniti